MicroBrewr043: BONUS Happy New Year.

MicroBrewr 043: BONUS Happy New Year


Welcome to MicroBrewr podcast. We talk about everything craft beer related, with a focus for people looking at starting their own microbrewery or wanting to take their existing brewery to the next level.

As usual, I’m Nathan Pierce, the host of MicroBrewr Podcast.

This is going to be just a short review of the past year for MicroBrewr and also an update of my plans to start a brewery, because some people ask about that. Myself wanting to start a brewery, has sort of become the premise of a lot of MicroBrewr, so I’ll talk briefly about that.

MicroBrewr in 2014

Wow, MicroBrewr! What a cool thing. I guess, if you’re listening to this, you agree with me what a cool thing MicroBrewr is, and especially MicroBrewr Podcast.

How often do we get to go behind the scenes in any business? To talk with successful business owners and find out their worst mistakes, their biggest successes, and get advice for doing it better than they did. And we do this every week not just for any business, but for craft breweries!

When I first heard this podcast probably in episode 2 or 3, when Joe Shelerud was doing it, I was neck deep in developing my business plan. The episodes were still just every other week and I couldn’t get enough of them.

Even after Joe interviewed me on episode 5, I was still listening every week, taking notes, getting light-bulb moments, and learning things that I hadn’t thought of, ways to fix my business plan or make it better. It was such a great resource to me at the time.

Then when it was going to end forever, I called up Joe and asked him if I could continue the website and podcast. I just felt that it was a great resource for myself, so I didn’t want it to end.

And I was thinking of others who must be using it too. I’ve heard that more than one brewery per day has opened this year. That’s a lot of people who need this very information.

And we’ve talked with large breweries like:

We’ve also talked with the tiniest places like:

I happened to be cruising past Medford on a road trip this summer, so I called Opposition, totally last minute, and they let me come in on their day off. They were closed for business but they were there doing other work, and they gave my girlfriend and I tour of their little nanobrewery. They even gave me growler, my very first growler, believe it or not. And it’s pretty cool, too. I like their logo, and the growler is printed with silver, glitter ink. So it’s pretty neat.

And then we talked with:

The blog has some pretty informative posts from some of those guests.

And there’s other info on the blog. I’ve been trying to add some other resources to the website, too.

MicroBrewr is going to be at it’s best as a resource for you to find information on starting your brewery, or improving your brewery.

I mean there are tons of books about operating a brewery. (Many of them are on the MicroBrewr book list. hehe) You can find this information anywhere, and some of it can be dense.

I’m trying to make this approachable to people just like me. Maybe we don’t know what we’re doing, but we do have a dream.

It’s not unrealistic. I’ve talked to people who didn’t know what they were doing—they didn’t have business experience—but they had a dream. They had passion and desire, and they opened their own brewery. Usually it’s starting small, but they’re doing what they love. They have the reward of working for themselves and doing what they know deep inside that they should be doing. And they’re making profits, they’re paying the bills, they’re still in business.

Planning a brewery in 2014

Maybe I’m crazy, but I’d rather work 60 hours or more at my own brewery, than 40 hours for someone else.

I want to create something new. I want to help other people. I want to inspire others to be great.

And craft beer is so exciting. This is such a neat industry. Who knows how it will be in the future, when there is actually competition and there are so many breweries that everybody, even the little guys, have to compete with each other. But for now, it’s an industry that helps each other. All the breweries are raising each other up. They’re loaning ingredients to their friends across town, or even loaning staff! Or they’re just sharing their knowledge—like on this podcast.

So this is where I want to be.

I’m still learning how to start a brewery, and MicroBrewr has become a huge part of that.

Honestly, Microbrewr has come to take a lot of time. I’ve been investing a ton of time into this. It’s not just recording an interview. It’s many tasks that, collectively, take a lot of time:

  • Learning how to use WordPress
  • Learning how to use Garage Band
  • Getting better at Photoshop
  • Editing sound
  • Typing show notes
  • Scheduling interviews and social media
  • And more!

So I’ve been neglecting the actual grunt-work of really trying to start an actual, brick-and-mortar business—a brewery. Yet this is, in fact, moving forward on my plans to start a brewery.

I’m updating my resume with the skills and knowledge that I’m picking up through this. When I go get money from the bank or investors, they’ll want to see that I’m knowledgeable, that I’m competent and qualified to make it work and to pay them back.

I’m making connections. I now know 50 or so people who are inside the industry, already doing what I want to do. When it comes time to find mentors, I have a big pool of people to draw from.

Even one person reached out to me about partnering on an actual brewery. We met in person, we talked a couple hours, hopefully we’ll meet again. Who knows where it’s going to go, but it gave me hope that this is still possible. If nothing comes from that, maybe somebody else will find me from MicroBrewr.

People can have a conversation with me every week—myself and the guests of the podcast. So they’ll have a pretty good idea what I’m all about, and they can check my blog nathanpierce.me and learn more about my vision of the brewery that I want to start. Who knows what can happen.

But not enough is happening.

I know the MicroBrewr audience, the “MicroBrewrs,” feel a connection with me. I know how it is, I listen to podcasts, too. I mean, I feel like Pat Flynn is my best friend because I listen to his podcast every week and he helps me so much, but I’ve never met him.

So I’m going to be honest. If you listening to this show, you probably know I go deep. So here’s the deal. You all know I quit my job last year. My savings is running low and my part-time job isn’t cutting it anymore.

I gotta find a real job.

I really want to get a job at a craft brewery. It’s getting kid of dire, so I’m applying everywhere—and there have been some jobs outside the craft beer industry that looked like they could really resonate with me—but I’m really hoping for a job at a craft brewery.

Hopefully in the San Francisco Bay Area because it’s not too far from where I’m living now and it’s not too far from my family. My girlfriend lives in the East Bay and I other friends in the Bay Area.

Then I’ll have some actual, real-world experience under my belt. I can learn what it really takes, day-to-day, to operate a brewery. Experience is crucial.

Man, in a dream world, the brewery who hires me would recognize the intrinsic marketing value that comes with hiring a guy who produces a weekly podcast about craft breweries. They’ll give me time to continue MicroBrewr and I’ll be able to talk about things that happen at the brewery for all of us to learn from.

That would be amazing!

Maybe I’m just dreaming. I don’t know. If you own a brewery in the Bay Area, give me a call, let’s see what we can do.

But realistically, I already have several episodes of MicroBrewr Podcast recorded.

I was thinking ahead to the coming year and I kinda got zealous about the podcast schedule. It’s going to be a little bit different moving forward. There will be sort of themes. There will be series of episodes, a few episodes in a row, all on the same topic.

We’ll see how it goes. Send me message and let me know how that works for you.

Anyway, I’ve recorded several so far. So if I get a job right away and it ends up being just too much to keep this going, at least I have several episodes already recorded. That takes a lot of the work and time off my hands for at least the next few months.

And I think the next few months of MicroBrewr Podcast are going to be pretty cool. I’m excited about the next few months of episodes.

Here’s to 2015

Anyway, I just wanted to give you that recap, and that update. It’s a year-end bonus episode of MicroBrewr Podcast.

This is scheduled to publish on New Year’s Eve, but you might not even be listening to this until 2015. But if you listen to this in time…

I wish you a happy and safe time celebrating in the New Year. Here’s to 2015 and here’s to us, our plans, our dreams, our aspirations.

Keep on dreaming!

Image showing Happy new year! by Nic McPhee on flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) was modified from its original state.

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MicroBrewr 042: Open a microbrewery to revitalize an economy, with The Brew Gentlemen Beer Company.

MicroBrewr 042: Open a microbrewery to revitalize an economy

Matt Katase wasn’t yet legal drinking age when he read an autobiography of a brewery owner. Then he and his friend, Asa Foster, toured a large craft brewery and thought, we can do that. At age twenty-three, they opened The Brew Gentlemen Beer Company in Braddock, Pennsylvania.

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Matt has the following advice:

  • Don’t do it.
  • Strategically schedule donations and media interviews throughout the campaign.
  • Get lots of donations the first day to foster media impressions.
  • Research for optimum length of time.

I first heard about The Brew Gentlemen from Alexis Irvin, who spoke with us on MicroBrewr Podcast 040. Check out episode 40 to hear about Blood, Sweat, and Beer documentary and to get a coupon code for 20% off the price when your order a digital download of the movie.

Matt’s tips to successfully start a brewery:

  • Have confidence in yourself, stay true to your mission.
  • Learn construction from YouTube videos.
  • Make the women’s restroom really nice.
  • Care about quality, your customers, and your brand and image.

Brewery specs:

Kettle size: 3.5 BBL.

Size and quantity of fermentation tanks: 4, 7-BBL.

Size and quantity of bright tanks: 1, 7-BBL.

Annual brewing capacity/last year’s production: 400-600 BBL.

Square footage: 1,500 sq. ft., plus taproom, plus event space.

Years in operation: 7 months (opened May 2014).

“You’ve gotta have confidence in yourself and stay true to your mission.” [Tweet This]


Listener question:

From Robert Villareal: How much did you invest in your very first homebrew and equipment?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Sour beers

Other resources:

You can reach Matt Katase and The Brew Gentlemen Beer Company at:

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

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My best books of 2014.

My best books of 2014

If you want to succeed, you have to read. Two books stood out from my reading list this year. These 2 books helped me formulate my vision for the brewery that I want to make. I hope they’ll help you on your journey to starting a brewery.

These books definitely helped me articulate my vision. And if you can read it, you can believe it. It has been the basis for several posts on my personal blog.

Entrepreneurs are readers. I recently spoke with Danny Robinson, owner of Backshore Brewing Co. in Ocean City, Maryland.

“I don’t know of any successful business people that are not voracious readers,” says Danny.

Start With Why; How great leaders inspire everyone to take action by Simon Sinek

My parents are their own bosses. Each year they send themselves to Breakthrough Conference for goal setting, morale building, and such. I guess it’s pretty exciting because they always come back talking about it. My dad comes back talking about breaking boards. My mom brings back books from the speakers.

A few years ago they saw Simon Sinek speak and my mom emailed me a PDF of the advance copy of this book. It wasn’t until this year that I got around to reading it. And it came at the perfect time.

Although this book was published in 2009, I finally read it in April 2014. I was just coming off a bump in the road to developing my business plan. I was assessing my goals, my visions, and my purpose.

The book is all about getting to the inner reason of why a customer will buy a product.

“If you ask most businesses why their customers are their customers, most will tell you it’s because of superior quality, features, price or service,” he says. “In other words, most companies have no clue why their customers are their customers.”

He talks about different manipulations that companies use to makes sales: price, promotions, fear, aspirations, peer pressure, novelty.

“The danger of manipulations is that they work. And because they work, they have become the norm.”

But, according to Simon, “manipulations lead to transactions, not loyalty.”

So he provides an alternative. He explains how exceptional leaders motivate people by inspiring rather than manipulating.

He explains it in three components:

  1. Why
  2. How
  3. What

Most companies do it backward. They explain what they’re selling, the features, components, etc. They explain how it’s made. And finally, if they get around to it, they tell us why they did it.

But it should be the other way around. It all starts with why.

Simon gives examples, and one of my favorites is Apple’s marketing for their iPod.

There was another company that already had a portable MP3 player on the market nearly 2 years before Apple’s iPod. They had a longer history with digital sound and even with portable digital sound. But they advertised their product as a “5GB mp3 player.”

On the other hand, Apple’s main selling point was, “1,000 songs in your pocket.”

Big deal if it’s a 5GB mp3 player, why do I need that.

To put 1,000 songs in my pocket, that’s why!

This system isn’t just for articulating your message to customers. Great leaders inspire their team, and their whole company, by always emphasizing why.

If you want to be a great leader. I highly recommend that you read, Start with Why by Simon Sinek.

Above The Line; How the Golden Rule Rules the Bottom Line by Steve Satterwhite

This year, my parents brought back from the conference, another great book, Above the Line by Steve Satterwhite. It was published in 2013, I read it in September 2014.

This book is mostly Steve’s memoir of how he built his IT company from scratch to the best—and one of the most profitable.

Steve goes deep into the workings and the analysis of the IT processes for really large accounts. It was interesting to learn that all the major computer companies don’t handle their own support calls. You might think the IT person works for the company you called, but they’re actually contracted out.

It was also interesting to learn how Steve makes sure to hire the right people every time.

“Each person is a complex human being who comes with a set of strengths, a set of weaknesses and a lot of stuff in between,” he says. “The trick is to recognize someone’s strengths, then give them the tools to move from good to great, and then from great to Rock Star status.”

Steve says there are three disciplines that businesses can master. Most companies believe it’s too much to master all 3, they have to choose one and only one of the 3 disciplines:

  • Operational excellence
  • Product leadership
  • Customer intimacy

But Steve learned that “these three legs are inextricably linked together. You can’t actually have one without the other.”

This book is a great example of a big company doing the right thing. Echoing a lesson from Simon’s book, Steve talks about aligning your company with employees, with clients, and with customers who share your values.

“When our people show up to work with our customers, their culture is an extension of our culture,” Steve says. “How they treat our people is a direct reflection on us as leaders of the organization.”

Steve’s organization is committed to treating their employees well. They treat their employees well so their employees can treat their communities well.

Steve is so committed to this idea that he even gave his employees to a competitor.

He wrote of a time when a client bought a competing IT provider. Steve’s organization lost a lot of business and had to let employees go. Rather than leave the employees to fend for themselves, Steve’s organization called the competitor and recommended these employees for hire. The 2 companies had worked on many of the same jobs. They knew how to do each other’s work.

Although Steve’s company had invested in their employees training, skills, and knowledge, they were committed to treating their people well. When they could no longer afford to keep them employed, they found other employment for them.

This is doing business “above the line.”

“We try to do the right thing in every situation. Even when it hurts,” he says. “Sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we make mistakes. But sometimes, we get it right. And despite all my failures and successes, through it all, trying to do the right thing for our people first is why I sleep well at night.”

I highly recommend this book as well.

Read everything you can get your hands on

These 2 books prove that you can strive to make a profitable company and still do what is right.

Craft breweries are known for being the types of businesses that conserve resources, pay employees a livable wage, and give back to the community. You don’t have to sacrifice profits in exchange for that.

When I talked with Danny Robinson he was really enthusiastic about reading for business people.

“Read everything you can get your hands on!” he advises.

If you want to see what books Danny and others are recommending for starting a brewery, check out the list of books recommended by guests of MicroBrewr Podcast.

What were the best books you read this year? What are you striving for in 2015? Let the rest of us know in the comments below.

Image showing Reading by Sebastien Wiertz on flickr (CC BY 2.0) was modified from its orignal state.


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MicroBrewr 041: A flagship nanobrewery in a tourist town, with Backshore Brewing Co.

MicroBrewr 041: A flagship nanobrewery in a tourist town

Danny Robinson had the choice of building a giant brewery in the middle of nowhere, or a tiny brewery right on the beach and boardwalk. He chose the later and made Backshore Brewing Co. in Ocean City, Maryland.

“The plan from the beginning was to have this nanobrewery up on the boardwalk, be the flagship of the brand.”

It seems to be working. In a town whose population fluctuates from 3,000 in the winter to 300,000 in the summer, Backshore has a 1-BBL brewhouse and has beer made under contract to meet demand.

I first heard about Backshore Brewing from Alexis Irvin, who spoke with us on MicroBrewr Podcast 040. Check out episode 40 to hear about Blood, Sweat, and Beer documentary and to get a coupon code for 20% off the price when your order a digital download of the movie.

Some of Danny’s advice to others:

  • Get really deep with the math.
  • Get a mentor and find more mentors.
  • Play to your strengths.
  • Be honest with yourself, but keep trusting yourself.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of packaging and marketing.

Brewery specs:

Kettle size: 1 BBL.

Size and quantity of fermentation tanks: 4, 2-BBL fermenters.

Size and quantity of bright tanks: 2, 2-BBL bright tanks, sometimes used as fermenters.

Annual brewing capacity/last year’s production: Brewed 200 BBL last year, contracted 400 BBL for distribution.

Square footage: 600 sq. ft., with 500 sq. ft deck.

Years in operation: 2.5 years (opened May 2012).

“A business is very different from a hobby.” [Tweet This]


Listener question:

From Federico Nussbaum: How can we find out how many beers to have on tap in the start? How can we find out which styles to serve in our local area?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:


Other resources:

You can reach Danny Robinson and Backshore Brewing Co. at:

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher

Why I love Ecamm Call Recorder.

Why I love Ecamm Call Recorder

Ecamm recently released Call Recorder for FaceTime and I’m pretty excited. I use Call Recorder to record every episode of MicroBrewr Podcast. Normally I record the calls on Skype, but now they also have the software for FaceTime. This post explains how to use the software (Ecamm Call Recorder tutorial). And there’s a chance to win Call Recorder for FaceTime for FREE! So read all the way to end, to find out how to get your chance to win.


How you can use Ecamm Call Recorder

Call Recorder works with both video calls and audio calls.

Video calling is so much more personal than telephoning by just voice. I really like being able to see someone’s face while I’m talking to them.

When I was developing a business plan for my dream brewery, my partners and I had weekly video calls. Some of the partners were referred by my friend, I had never met them in-person. So seeing their face really helped build rapport.

Sometimes I use the FaceTime audio feature for voice-only calls. I don’t understand all the technical stuff, but there’s way better sound quality from digital calls via an online service like Skype or FaceTime, compared to standard calls by cell phone or even landline.

There are so many uses for recording digital calls. Call Recorder might be perfect if you:

  • Produce a podcast like MicroBrewr
  • Want to record an important business call
  • Or just want to save a special call with a loved one

How I use Ecamm Call Recorder

I use Call Recorder for Skype for every episode of MicroBrewr Podcast. I record all of the interviews through Skype because:

  • It doesn’t use minutes on my phone.
  • It has better sound quality than a cell phone call.
  • I can record it onto my computer.

I’ve done every episode that way, except for one when I talked with Mark Carpenter in-person at Anchor Brewing. For that one, I used Voice Memos on my iPhone. I’m searching for the perfect setup to record in the field, but I still record all the other episodes with Call Recorder for Skype. And now Call Recorder for FaceTime gives me more options.

Plus, I’m an Apple fan, so I’ll be looking for excuses to use FaceTime more often.

Here’s how Ecamm Call Recorder works

Here’s the only Ecamm Call Recorder tutorial you’ll ever need—it’s so simple. After you purchase and install the software, it’s automatically tacked onto Skype or FaceTime, sort of like a plugin. So anytime you open the calling software, Call Recorder also opens.

There’s a separate window with a record button. And that’s it. It’s so simple. I love it!

It goes like this

I can’t remember how I did it the first time. I think there were prompts. Anytime, though, you can go to the little “Call Recorder” window and click the “Settings” icon.


Inside “Call Recorder for FaceTime Settings,” check the box next to “Create Separate Audio Tracks.” This is especially important for podcasting so you can record your voice and your interviewee’s voice onto separate tracks. That will give you greater flexibility in post-production editing.

While you’re still in Settings, go to “Save Recordings To,” and pick where you want the calls saved.


I selected Desktop and it automatically created a new folder called, “Saved Calls.”


Anytime during a FaceTime call you can go down to the Call Recorder window and click the round Record/Stop button.


Record the call as long as you want. When you click stop, it automatically saves a .mov file into the “Saved Calls” folder (wherever you selected in Settings).

The filename identifies the contact you were talking with and the time of the call.


You can record FaceTime video calls or FaceTime audio calls. And now with Yosemite and iOS 8, you can even record calls through your iPhone, onto your computer. The person you’re talking to doesn’t need to have an Apple device!

I recorded just the audio call because that’s what I do for MicroBrewr Podcast.

This .mov is a QuickTime file. But Call Recorder comes with super easy software to convert it to AAC, AIFF or MP3.

Before we convert the file, lets split it into 2 tracks. The original file has both sides of the conversation, but we want to split it into 2 separate tracks, one with each side of the conversation. Call Recorder also comes with super easy software to do this too.

When you first download the software, it saves these extras into a folder called, “Movie Tools.”


For easy access, I moved the 2 applications that I use most onto my Dock:

  • Split Sides of Conversation
  • Convert To MP3

Click on the .mov file, drag it onto “Split Sides of the Conversation,” and let go.


Now you have 2 new .mov files in the same folder as the original. One track has your voice, the other track has the voice of the other caller.


Now let’s convert the file to a different format. I do podcasting, so MP3 is what I work with.

To convert the .mov files to .mp3s, just click on one file, drag it over “Convert to MP3,” and let go.


Do the same thing again for the other file. Now you also have 2 MP3s.

So now, for this one call, you have 5 files in the folder, “Saved Calls”:

  1. The original .mov with both sides of the conversation.
  2. A new .mov with your voice.
  3. A new .mov with your caller’s voice.
  4. An .mp3 with your voice.
  5. An .mp3 with your caller’s voice.


Move them to wherever you want to store them on your hard drive. It’s that easy!

It seems like a lot when the steps are written out like this, but it’s not. Do it once and you got it. Do it twice and it comes naturally. And if you do this a lot, say for a weekly podcast about starting a brewery, it really helps to have those other aps in the dock.

Now I have a question for you: What will you use Call Recorder for FaceTime for?

Win Call Recorder for FREE!

The folks at Ecamm are so cool, they agreed to give us one free copy of Call Recorder for FaceTime. It normally sells for $29.95, but you can get it for FREE!

Click on this link and check out Call Recorder for FaceTime.

Or click on this link and check out Call Recorder for Skype.

Then, in the comments section below, tell me how you will use Call Recorder. Is it for work? For personal use? Who will you call? Where will you call from? Where is the person you’re calling?

Paint a picture and give me a good (short) story. I’ll pick one winner on January 8, 2015. And Ecamm will give you Call Recorder for FaceTime FOR FREE.

UPDATE: P.S. They’re running a special for Christmas: Buy both versions (for Skype and FaceTime) and save $15! I don’t know how long the special will last. If you can’t wait until the results of the this contest, click either one of the links above, scroll to the bottom, and check out the combo deal.

UPDATE: The contest winner was selected. Yay! Check out the comments below to see the entries and the winner. Thanks to everyone who entered, it makes this more fun.


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MicroBrewr 040: Keep persevering to get to the end, with Blood, Sweat, and Beer movie.

MicroBrewr 040: Keep persevering to get to the end

Alexis Irvin and her partner Chip Hiden travelled across the country trying to find out what it takes to make a living doing what you love. They interviewed a bunch people in lots of different fields who all had their dream job. And they put it together into a movie and book called, The Dream Share Project.

Then they followed their own dreams, quit their jobs, and started working for themselves. For their next project, Alexis and Chip travelled across the country interviewing people with a dream job in one field—craft beer! They made a beer movie!

Blood, Sweat, and Beer is a feature-length documentary coming out in 2015 that follows 2 startup breweries, one in Braddock, Pennsylvania and another in Ocean City, Maryland.

For making Blood, Sweat, and Beer movie, they interviewed over 100 people for the film. Everyone from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., New Belgium Brewing, Brooklyn Brewery, and small local breweries.

The most important things Alexis learned about starting a brewery:

  • Handle all of the legal paperwork thoroughly
  • Start with a team
  • Consider how your brewery can benefit a specific location


20% OFF digital download pre-order of Blood, Sweat, and Beer documentary.

Alexis and Chip gave us a coupon code exclusive to the MicroBrewr audience.

Go to the Blood, Sweat, and Beer website. Click “Redeem Code.”

Enter this code for 20% off: MICROBREWR

That’s a digital download of the film for only $3.99!

Be sure to connect with Blood, Sweat, and Beer documentary and thank Alexis for being on the show and for the discount.

“ Just keep going. You have to persevere to get to the end.” [Tweet This]


Listener question:

From Ray Pierce: Is it profitable?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Sour beers

Other resources:

You can reach Alexis Irvin and Blood, Sweat, and Beer documentary at:

You might also like:

MicroBrewr 050: Have passion and be persistent with Craft Conscious in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher

How side streaming your brewery wastewater can save you money, guest post by John Mercer, Brewery Wastewater Design.

How side streaming your brewery wastewater can save you money

For every gallon of beer made, it takes 7 gallons of water. Hopefully you thought about your brewery wastewater management before you built your brewery. Even if you’ve been producing beer for years, there are things you can do to reduce your load on the municipal wastewater treatment facility and potentially reduce your sewage bill.

John Mercer has more than 15 years of wastewater experience in breweries and laboratories. His company, Brewery Wastewater Design in Montrose, Colorado, specializes in designing wastewater systems for breweries of all sizes.

John was our guest on MicroBrewr Podcast episode 033. He taught us all about wastewater treatment for a craft brewery. I was fascinated by the concept of side-streaming to possibly cut costs from the sewage treatment plant. So I asked John to write a blog about it.

Check out more free resources about brewery wastewater management on the Brewery Wastewater Design website.

How side streaming your brewery wastewater can save you money

What is side stream?

Side-streaming is collecting high strength, concentrated wastes at the source—before it hits the floor, and setting it aside for disposal. Sources of this high-strength wastewater include fermenter bottoms, spent yeast, returned beer in kegs, fermenter blow off, beer in hoses or pipes at the beginning or end of a packaging run; but the primary source is the brewhouse.

Lauter tun rinsings, hop back rinsings, kettle residues, and trub. All of this material is very high in BOD (biochemical oxygen demand) and TSS (total suspended solids) and are easy targets to separate if you need or want to lower the BOD and TSS of your brewery’s wastewater. BOD can’t just be filtered from your wastewater.

How to collect side stream at a brewery

My favorite method for collecting this side-stream material is via an equipment drain. Very similar to a floor drain, but there is no drain. Instead a pipe extends up through the floor about 6 inches. This prevents other material from entering the pipe. Specific high-strength materials are piped or hosed into the equipment drain. Everything else enters the normal floor-drain system.

If you’re following along, you will notice that this requires a separate set of drain lines under your slab. One set for floor drains, another set for side-stream drains. If you are building a new brewery or tearing up the slab in an existing building this is definitely the way to go.

Luckily you don’t need many of these side-stream equipment drains:

  • 1 in the brewhouse area
  • 1 to 2 in the cellar area
  • 1 to 2 in the packaging areas.

You can still side stream if you can’t or don’t want to tear up your slab, it just gets a little trickier.

You will have to go overhead or along the walls with the piping, so you will need to pump the material. Lots of pumps. Double diaphragm pumps work fine, make sure it can handle solids and if it’s in the brewhouse, make sure it can handle high temperatures.

Now you need something to pump out of. An old 55-gallon drum with the top cut off works, but it will deform. Better is a ‘portable floor drain’ made of stainless steel that can be wheeled around. Something short with casters on it, so it can go under a whirlpool or lauter tun.

What to do with the side stream from your brewery

However you do it, collect this material and put it in a tank (outdoors, in back, it’ll stink), and spread it on pastures as fertilizer—or even feed it to animals. You could have one big tank or you could use old chemical totes (IBCs); doesn’t need to be fancy. It can go on the fields as is, solids and high temperature are OK.

If feeding it to animals, make sure you are not responsible for any misuse of this product by the hauler/farmer; it can cause bloat and drunkenness. Generally the fertilizer content of this material is lower than the cost of hauling, so you may have to pay for hauling. But if you have a fertilizer company nearby, they might pay you for it.

Of course, spent grain should be your first side stream. You might even decide to add your trub and spent yeast in here. Spent grain does have value as feed. At a minimum you can give it away in exchange for the farmer promptly hauling it away. Maybe you can get some free beef out of the deal. Larger breweries should be able to sell their spent grain.

The value of spent grain increases as moisture content decreases; 80% moisture is a great target.

How side streaming can help save you money

After side streaming, the remaining portion of your wastewater can be referred to as low-strength wastewater. This will be cleaning and CIP water in your cellar and brewhouse, as well as any packaging line wastewater, boiler blow-down, cooling tower blow-down, and general wash-down waters. The BOD of this low-strength wastewater is still high-strength compared to typical municipal wastewater, so side streaming doesn’t solve all of your problems, but it does help. BOD & TSS are what most municipalities look at then applying surcharges. Sanitary wastewater (toilets, sinks, kitchen) should not be included in the low-strength waste stream and should be piped directly to the sanitary sewer.

The best option for disposal of the low-strength wastewater is almost always to have someone else treat your wastewater for you—especially if they do it for free. Doing what you can to make the people at your municipality happy to treat your wastewater for you is a great deal.

Always ‘play nice’ with the regulators

My best piece of advice for any brewer may be to ‘play nice’ with the regulatory authorities you have to deal with. They may give you rules, laws, and limits to abide by, as well as charge fees—and you might not agree with them all. But smile, be courteous and professional, and try to see things from their perspective. Do not get into an adversarial relationship. They have lawyers on retainer and they probably know their laws better than you do.

All of this doesn’t mean don’t try to negotiate—just be professional. They can treat your wastewater cheaper than you can, plus they already have the rate-payer-funded equipment and staff. Just hope they have capacity.


Image showing Fulton Officials Discuss Improvements to Wastewater Treatment Plant by KOMUnews on flickr (CC BY 2.0) was modified from its orignal state.

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MicroBrewr 039: Apprenticing in a brewery incubator program, with Ferndock Brewing Company.

MicroBrewr 039: Apprenticing in a brewery incubator program

Kyle Roth is just about to finish the brewing apprenticeship through Platform Beer Co.’s incubator program. Soon he, his brother and cousins, partners in Ferndock Brewing Company in Sandusky, Ohio, will venture out on their own.

We heard from Paul Benner, who told us about Platform Beer Co.’s incubator program, in MicroBrewr Podcast episode 026. Kyle is the first person to go through the brewing apprenticeship program and he’s so glad that he did.

The apprenticeship gave Kyle a jumpstart in everything he needs to know to open a brewery.

His advice to a homebrewer who wants to start a commercial brewery:

  • Start earlier
  • Make connections
  • Find a mentor
  • Talk to brewers

“Best idea so far has been joining Platform Beer Co. and taking this opportunity to go pro.” [Tweet This]


Listener question:

From Jimmy Batte: How do you get your percent cost mark up? Is there a typical 30% you apply to everything? What is the general guideline?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:


Other resources:

You can reach Kyle Roth and Ferndock Brewing Company at:

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

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MicroBrewr 038: Learn the classics and stay true to your genre, with Gordon Biersch Brewing Company.

MicroBrewr 038: Learn the classics and stay true to your genre

Dan Gordon enjoyed beer from the young age of 15 years. In high school, he lived next door to 2 brewers when he studied in Austria. Then in post-grad, he studied Brewing Engineering and Beverage Technology in Germany. Back home in Palo Alto, he partnered with restaurateur, Dean Biersch, to open a brewpub in Palo Alto, California, which later became Gordon Biersch Brewing Company in San Jose, California.

Gordon Biersch went on to open brewpubs throughout the U.S. and abroad. They had to divest, but remain connected. Meanwhile Gordon Biersch Brewing Company was the 49th largest craft brewery in the nation based on 2013 numbers. Their beers won 4 medals in the 2014 Great American Beer Festival.

Dan and Gordon Biersch were part of the famed craft beer class of 1988. He has a wealth of insight. Here are some of his suggestions:

  • Get industrial experience from a legitimate brewer
  • Invest in quality equipment
  • Stay true to your genre
  • Start bottling sooner rather than later
  • Hold your breath and wait a little bit

“[Homebrewing] is a foundation and building block for making beer popular these days.” [Tweet This]


Listener question:

From Trina Christensen: What is the most rewarding thing about brewing? Are you tired of cleaning yet?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:


Other resources:

You can reach Brian Kelly and Elevation 66 Brewing Company at:

You might also like:

MicroBrewr 035: Staying creative and innovative with partner brewing, with 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco, California.

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

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MicroBrewr 037: A forty-year career at the epicenter of craft beer, with Anchor Brewing.

MicroBrewr 037: A forty-year career at the epicenter of craft beer

Mark Carpenter wasn’t happy with his job. One day, he took a tour of Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, California, and thought it would be a fun place to work. Over 40 years later, he’s still the brewer.

Shaun O’Sullivan, Founder and Brewer of 21st Amendment Brewery says Anchor Brewing is “the epicenter of craft beer for all of us in this industry.”

Anchor Brewing has been operating in San Francisco under the same name since 1896. The company struggled severely in the mid-1900s. Fritz Maytag loved to drink Anchor Steam Beer on tap, and he bought the company in 1965.

Fritz had to learn to brew, and he invested heavily in brewing equipment and modernizing the processes. It is no wonder he is often called “the father of modern microbreweries.”

And Mark Carpenter, has been there almost the whole time. It was an honor to be able to speak with Mark on-site at the same brewery location where he’s been making beer since 1979.

When Mark started working at Anchor in 1971, they were producing “the only beer in America that really wasn’t just a yellow beer.”

When Anchor Porter was released in 1973, not one porter was being made in England. Most dark beers, were simply the light beer with coloring added.

Liberty Ale, with its Cascade hops, came out in 1975, a time when not many—if any—other breweries were using the Cascade hops as an aroma hop.

In 2013, Anchor was ranked the 21st largest craft brewery in the nation.

Anchor gallery

Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, California on October 28, 2014. Nathan Pierce and Mark Carpenter, Brewmaster from Anchor Brewing (left), at Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, California, October 28, 2014. Bobby, leading a tour at Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, California, October 28, 2014. Anchor Steam Beer fermenting at Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, California, October 28, 2014. Anchor Steam Beer on tap at Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, California, October 28, 2014.

Of the early years at Anchor, Mark says, it was an “unbelievable place to learn to make beer. It was just a lot of fun.”

Mark is very humble. When I asked him the best idea he ever had for the brewery, he replied, “Boy, I don’t know. You’d have to ask somebody else.”

He says the biggest mistake he ever made is knowing that he had to let an employee go, but not doing it soon enough.

“Breweries are kind of magical places.” [Tweet This]


Listener question:

From Michael Rohleder: Has the market reached the saturation point, is there still room for another craft brewer?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

German Styles

Other resources:

You can reach Mark Carpenter and Anchor Brewing at:

You might also like:

MicroBrewr 010: How Ninkasi Went From a 15-BBL System to the 30th Largest Craft Brewery in the Nation w/ Ninkasi Brewing, from Eugene, Oregon.

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

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MicroBrewr 036: How to write a business plan for a gastropub brewery, with Elevation 66 Brewing Company.

MicroBrewr 036: How to write a business plan for a gastropub brewery

Brian Kelly opened Elevation 66 Brewing Company 3 years ago in El Cerrito, California. It was his first business and they paid off their major investor ahead of schedule, just 2 and-a-half years after opening.

Initially, they wanted to have a mill and limit the food offerings to paninis and salads. About halfway into the design process they decided to rework it and plan for a full kitchen. It was more expensive to build, but it was worth it.

“That has turned out to be one of the better ideas for this place,” says Brian. “Our food has really taken off. Without our kitchen, I don’t know if this place would be nearly as successful. Salads and paninis is nothing like the food we put out right now.”

And the food at Elevation 66 is great. They were recognized as having the best artisanal pub food in the East Bay.

Brian’s advice to someone just starting is:

  • Understanding the laws is crucial
  • Be as professional as possible at all times
  • Hire help

Elevation 66 is still new, but their 7-BBL system can hardly produce enough beer just for their in-house sales. (Elevation 66 doesn’t package any beer for distribution.) They are starting to plan for expansion and have begun developing the brewery business plans for different possibilities.

So I asked Brian how to write a brewery business plan. He said start looking into the red tape.

“These permits that you have to get and all this red tape that you have to go through can be a long and arduous process. You really want to have a solid plan of attack on how you’re going to do all these things.”

Brian’s top 3 resources for writing a brewery business plan:

“Honestly,” says Brian, “I just went online and read other people’s business plans.

He also suggests overestimating costs and underestimating revenues.

“That’s the whole purpose of a business plan to me. It’s like, let’s be realistic. What’s the worst case scenario? If that does happen, can we still make this work? If you can, and you do better than that, then it’s golden.”

“If you have a feeling that this is going to succeed, don’t doubt that.” [Tweet This]


Listener question:

From Hayden Little: How much trouble did you have coming up with a name? What was the inspiration for the name?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Sour beers

Other resources:

You can reach Brian Kelly and Elevation 66 Brewing Company at:

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher

Selling more beer through your local craft beer store.

Selling more beer through your local craft beer store

Selling more is always a goal. You put hard work into the craft, you want more people to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Before you think of selling your beer at retail, before you even package your beer, there are some things that will help you sell more of your beer at retail.

Tiffany Adamowski and her husband have been operating 99 Bottles beer store, in Federal Way, Washington for the past 7 years. Tiffany was our guest on MicroBrewr podcast episode 029. She taught us how to sell more beer through your local craft beer store. She had so many great tips that I asked her to write a couple of blogs posts to go into more detail.

In her last post, Tiffany told us some tips to build relationships with your local craft beer store. In this post she helps us understand the deep, complex reasons that one beer will be a hit seller.

Selling more beer through your local craft beer store

Consumer buying habits are driven by economics, psychology, and behavior. When making a purchase decision at a specialty beer store, the customer’s decision to buy is usually based on:

  • “I like the label.”
  • “It’s in my price range.”
  • “It came recommended.”

And the repeat decision to buy is based on:

  • “It tastes good.”

Product labeling: Personality sells

Beers with catchy, fun, and unique brands are easiest to sell on a customer’s first visit. Beer brands that sell well repeatedly over time, on a customer’s return visits, those that deliver on the promise of who and what they say they are—they’re consistent and familiar.

Think of the biggest craft breweries and what they’re known for:

  • Stone Brewing Company: Beer with attitude, not for wussies.
  • Sierra Nevada Brewing Company: Whole cone hops; sustainability.
  • Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales: Off-centered, unique beers.

What’s your beer’s story? …its flavor? …its style? Does its name and packaging reflect this?

Sample beer labels

beer labels Baranof Island Brewing Company beer labels Crux Fermentation Project beer labels Telegraph Brewing Company beer labels Propolis Brewing beer labels Klamath Basin Brewing Company beer labels Alesmith Brewing Company

Note, when giving your beer a name, it’s a good idea to do a trademark search on the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) website to avoid any possible trademark infringements and costly rebrands.

Branding creates an identity. Does each of your beers have a unique personality deserving of a name, or are they simply named: “Blonde, IPA, Pale Ale, and Stout”? Do all the labels look exactly the same, or are there personality differences? Is there one strong theme that pulls all your labels together… or does the label on each beer look so different that your brand is disjointed and confusing?

What’s your angle? How did the beer come to be? Provide fun trivia and stories to those representing your beer to consumers. Equip the people who represent your brand—share information at in-store tastings, through your brewery’s website and social media platforms, sales sheets, and shelf talkers.

With a good story, a retailer can sell a lot of beer.

Product pricing: Keep it affordable

Price your beer to keep your brewery operations in the black, but don’t price so high as to slow it down at the retail location. If you’re starting out and not sure what to charge, check out the retail prices of competing beer brands and ask local independent retailers for information on typical wholesale pricing.

Product recommendations: Trustworthy sources

The opinion of another person, who may or may not have the drinker’s preferences in mind, can have a HUGE influence on the purchase decision.

The influence of the retailer

The small independent craft beer retailer has this advantage: Trust.

Like the TV series “Cheers,” your local beer store gets to know its regulars. The retailer points their regulars to beers they believe will be appreciated.

And for new customers, the local craft beer store aims to get the drinker into a beer they’ll like, so they’ll return—and tell their friends about the experience.

This is quite different from mega liquor chains who focus on upselling certain brands. The independent specialty craft beer store is better equipped to showcase any and all breweries’ offerings to their customers.

The influence of lists

Third-party lists and recommendations also have an impact. Every week people walk into the beer store with lists of “top beers”—not realizing that most on the list are “beer whales.” (Like whales in the ocean, everyone talks about these limited-release beers, few see them.) Most of the general beer-seeking public don’t understand the concept of annual release, brewed once, draft only, and regionally available.

Hence, what excites me most are realistic lists—beers recommended by local beer bloggers, beers that are readily available in our State. But such lists are few. Getting your year-round beers in the hands of local bloggers, news sources and publications who can make “top lists” or “beer picks” lists is most helpful to the average consumer.

The influence of media

Radio, TV, magazines, and podcasts also have an affect on people seeking out your beers. In 2011, the Smithsonian wrote an article on Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch; due to longevity of posts on the Web, people are still coming in seeking out that beer, while referencing the article.

It tastes good: Quality is oh-so important!

I can’t overemphasize quality. If a craft beer tastes bad, a craft beer newbie is likely to say, “That style is nasty,” even though it may have simply been an off batch, product gone bad, or ingredients used in a way that aren’t to their personal preference.

Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of small breweries express their goal of getting their product on the shelves of a major retailer, such as a grocery store or mega liquor chain. This is where I get out my soapbox and say to a new brewery, “Be careful.” Distributors sometimes push products into a big-box store for the sale, allowing product to expire on the shelves. I really feel this does craft beer an injustice—if someone’s first experience with a craft beer is a beer that tastes off… well, that’s just bad business.

If signing on with a distributor, make sure they’re properly storing your beer and are having their sales representatives relay this information. If your beer requires refrigeration, be sure to communicate this—but also realize that may limit the amount of beer the shop may purchase. (Big floor displays are at room temperature.)

When brewing flagship beers that are packaged in bottles/cans, don’t continually tweak recipes. Save those experimental batches for the brewpub or accounts who can adequately represent them. People who fall in love with your beer are expecting a consistent flavor. Handcraft is easy to explain, but extreme changes in flavor aren’t… they can lose you followers.

If you realize a beer didn’t hold up as long as expected, have foamers, or unintentionally soured beers, be humble, confident, and have the balls to do recalls. It’s not just your name on the line, but the name of the retailer who is representing your brand.

Helpful links

Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS), U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (to make sure your desired brand name isn’t already owned by someone else).

The Beer Archaeologist by Abigail Tucker, Smithsonian Magazine, August 2011.

Every Good Brewery Has a Creation Story, The Beer Spectacles, January 6, 2014.

What’s wrong with beer marketing? -> A beer duet – @SommBeer & @HopsCanary, SommBeer – Beer Blog, July 24, 2014.

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MicroBrewr 035: Staying creative and innovative with partner brewing, with 21st Amendment Brewery.

MicroBrewr 035: Staying creative and innovative with partner brewing

21st Amendment Brewery opened their brewpub in 2000. In 2006 they started canning beer. After a long search, 21st Amendment started “partner brewing” with Cold Spring Brewing in Minnesota in 2008. The relationship has benefitted both companies very well.

Shaun O’Sullivan moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1990s and got a job at the storied Triple Rock Brewery. He met Nico Freccia who was writing for Celebrator magazine. But when they later met again in brewing classes at University of California, Davis, they decided to become partners on their own brewery.

21st Amendment gallery

21st Amendment logo
Brew Free or Die IPA Hell or High Watermelon

21st Amendment doubled production from 2011 to 2012. Based on 2013 numbers, 21st Amendment was the 50th largest craft brewery in the nation.

And they’re coming home. Their new, hundred thousand-square-foot brewery in San Leandro, California will soon begin production.

Operations will continue in Minnesota. The partnership has been helpful to both companies. Each has learned from the other and each has grown significantly through the partnership.

“We call it partner brewing,” says Shaun. “We don’t like using the word ‘contract.’ We do have people out there. We have a lot of samples that are sent back and forth. It’s a huge amount of information that goes back and forth.”

“We don’t try to hide behind what we’re doing or what we’re not doing.”

With nearly 15 years of experience, Nicco has suggestions for a brewer wanting to start a brewpub:

  • Raise more money.
  • Consider your floor plan carefully.
  • Find someone with business sense.
  • Don’t stress out; be proud of what you did.

“There is a concern that there’s a bubble that’s going to burst, which I think is crap.” [Tweet This]


P.S. I found who said, “You can’t improve the beer, you can only keep it the same or hurt it. So your goal is to keep it the same when you’re putting it into packaging.” It was Rich Weber, in episode 019. I think it got cut out in post-production, but it was documented in episode 021.


Win a FREE T-shirt from 21st Amendment Brewery

Answer the following question in the comments section below:

What was the first beer from 21st Amendment Brewery that was sold on a Virgin America flight?

Two winners will be selected at random in 3 weeks (December 2, 2014). I’ll get in touch with you. Then Shaun will mail the T-shirt in your size.

Be sure to connect with 21st Amendment Brewery and thank Shaun for being on the show and for giving us 2 free T-shirts.

UPDATE: The winers have been selected! See below for more deets.

Listener question:

From Derrick Hamrick: What is the suggested process in hiring a brewer?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:


Other resources:

You can reach Shaun O’Sullivan and 21st Amendment Brewery at:

Shaun’s social media:

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

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Building relationships with your local craft beer store, guest post by Tiffany Adamowski, 99 Bottles beer store.

Building relationships with your local craft beer store

Congratulations! You’re working toward selling your packaged beer at retail. You have been making great beer for a while. Things are going great at your taproom. Your customers are starting to ask where they can buy your beer. Here are some tips to help you as you reach out to local beer stores.

Tiffany Adamowski and her husband have been operating 99 Bottles beer store, in Federal Way, Washington for the past 7 years. Tiffany was our guest on MicroBrewr podcast episode 029. She taught us how to sell more beer through your local craft beer store. She had so many great tips that I asked her to write a couple of blogs posts to go into more detail.

In this post Tiffany help us understand how to build relationships with your local craft beer store. In the next post she’ll dig deeper into selling more beer through your local craft beer store.

Building relationships with your local craft beer store

So, I hear you’re starting a brewery or becoming a brewery representative, and want to know how to sell product to your local craft beer store. I’ll offer a bit of advice, from the perspective of a craft beer retailer.

Initiating the relationship

Start by introducing yourself and your product. A good way to do this is to get the contact information of the person who makes the buying decisions for the craft beer store. If you’re new to sales, the cold call can be uncomfortable… but it doesn’t need to be. Your goal should be to keep it brief and on-topic:

Hello, my name is … I represent brewery name. We have beers available for your shop, in (format: kegs, bottles, cans). Here is our sales sheet, samples, and my contact information. Our beers will be available through (distributor name, self distributed). Is there a good day/time that I can follow-up?

If you offer to follow up on a specific day/time, keep that appointment. Understand that the shopkeeper at small craft beer shops often wear many hats.

Be aware of other demands on the retailer while you’re there. Realize that they need to focus first on their customers—both in person, and on phone, while you’re making your visit.

Avoid dropping in during “busy times” to pitch your product. For a specialty craft beer store this is often drive-time. Beer bars that serve food may have blackout times during lunch, happy hour, and dinner. If in doubt, call ahead and schedule a time.

Contacting by email? If the email isn’t available on the shop’s website or you’ve not received an answer to a cold email, call the business and ask for the name and email of the person who does the ordering.

The sales sheet

A successful sales sheet should answer the key questions the retailer and their customers will ask about the beer:

  • Brewery name, location, web and social media addresses.
  • Beer name, flavor description, alcohol by volume (ABV), international bitterness unit (IBU), original gravity (OG)—if available, wholesale price, availability (year-round, seasonality, one-off, etc.).
  • Distributor name—if the brewery is self distributing, the sales person’s name and contact information, order due-by days, delivery days.
  • For larger retailers, include the product SKUs.
  • Niceties include product images, a list of point-of-sale merchandise available, MSRP, and the background story to the beer and/or brewery.

Sample sales sheets

 sales-sheets_7-seas sales-sheets_alaskan sales-sheets_moonlight-mead sales-sheets_northwest

Invoicing and delivery, if self-distributing

Establish certain days for delivery. Find out what times are best for each retail establishment. A beer bar that serves food may be too busy to accept deliveries during meal hours (lunch/dinner). Often times bottle shops have more versatility in delivery times, but be sure to learn which times are best—they may also have black-out times for delivery due to increased customer flow.

Deliver what you promised; don’t pull cases off one account’s order to give to another. If you’re going to have to short a retailer what they’ve ordered due to limited supply and high demand, communicate this in advance. Don’t rely on your delivery person to relay the news.

Beer is a controlled substance and your State’s Alcohol Control Board requires you to take payment cash on delivery (COD). Thus, have a means to safely store and transport checks and/or cash with you.

  • Shoving a check into your back pocket? Double think that. Calling the retailer later because you misplaced the check simply shows a lack of professionalism, and can cost them and/or you bank stop-payment fees.
  • Delivery person math challenged? Get them a calculator. Cases can be damaged in transit, keg shells may need to be returned, or you may have extra cases available. Have a price sheet on hand. Be prepard to adjust invoices on-the-spot.

Maintaining the relationship

Keep track of your customer’s information, and make sure that if you’re relying on a business partner or employee to make sales calls that this data is retained at the company level. Thus, if your brewery’s ownership changes or that salesperson leaves the brewery, you’re not left rebuilding relationships from scratch.

A simple Excel spreadsheet can work, or consider using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.

Useful information to have on hand about your customers include:

  • Chief decision maker/buyer: first and last name, phone number (business and cell*), email address, preferred contact method (in person, phone, text, email), days/times available (so you’re not always calling/stopping in on their day off).
  • Names of other staff at the location who are able to assist: Managers, receiving clerk, and/or staff who may have impact on the purchasing decision.
  • Preferred delivery days/times, delivery access (front, back, side door?).
  • The date and time you called on them, what was discussed, items promised (POS, allocations of limited/rare beer, etc.)—and when those promises were fulfilled.
  • How the account is presenting and representing your brand.
  • Initiatives you’ve taken to drive sales at the establishment—and their success rate.
  • Niceties and conversation starters that come up in your conversations with them, such as their favorite beers and/or styles, styles that sell well at that specialty beer business, birthdates, anniversaries, kids names, etc. Jot down anything that can help you better present and become more trusted, familiar, and friendly (but avoid being creepy or stalkerish).

*If given a cell number, don’t give it to people looking to buy your beer in that city. Give the main business number of the retail establishment.

Helpful links

The Best Way To Manage Customer Relationships by Kern Lewis, Forbes, February 13, 2009.

New Belgium boosts customer relations and sales with Microsoft Dynamics by Sean Dudley, OnWindows, March 5, 2014.

Why is there a need for CRM solutions in the Beverage Alcohol Marketplace? by Tade Pulse.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software by OrchestratedBEER™ Business Management Software for breweries.


Image showing Handshake by Aidan Jones on flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) was modified from its orignal state.

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MicroBrewr 034: Guerrilla marketing in the outdoor activity mecca of Southern Nevada, with Boulder Dam Brewing Co.

MicroBrewr 034: Guerrilla marketing in the outdoor activity mecca of Southern Nevada

Boulder City, Nevada is between Las Vegas and Hoover Dam. The city was formed to temporarily house workers during the dam’s construction in the 1930s. After the dam was complete, residents incorporated and formed a city. In 2007, Todd Cook opened Boulder Dam Brewing Co.

Today Boulder Dam Brewing provides craft beer in a wide variety of styles. Todd grew up a “military brat” who moved around a lot. In college, a friend had a constant supply of European beers. The offerings from Boulder Dam Brewing reflects this vast geographic influence.

Boulder Dam Brewing also participates heavily in fundraising efforts for disaster preparedness and veterans care.

Although Todd previously ran an advertising business with offices in 2 states, he says business experience isn’t necessary to opening a brewpub. The only restaurant experience he had was working at McDonald’s when he was 16. Instead, Todd learned from Running a Restaurant for Dummies and Guerilla Marketing.

Not too bad for coming up on Boulder Dam Brewing Co.’s “8th annibrewsary” in February 2015.

Some of Todd’s advice in this episode:

  • It all depends on how bad you want it.
  • Learn from your mistakes and get back on the saddle.
  • Running a business requires a lot of time in the office.
  • Get in front of your customers and talk to them to see what they like.

“I do for a living what I used to pay for.” [Tweet This]


Listener question:

From l.seber: What are the best classes to take to prepare for opening a brewpub?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

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An upcoming beer style:

Session Dark Beer

Other resources:

You can reach Todd Cook and Boulder Dam Brewing Co. at:

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